Working and parenting is tough no matter the profession. It's twice as hard when you are finishing one job to roll straight into the next without so much as a cup of tea or a wee. I and a lot of my nursing colleagues work all night and then come home to parent all day.
Usually I leave the house having completed an already gruelling 12-hour shift of 'Mummy, mama, I want, waaahahh, wipe my bum, get me a drink etc'. Having bathed and decanted the two smalls into bed it's off to work I go. Believe me there are no hi-ho's. Just the grim realisation that I am unlikely to see my bed or the inside of my eyelids until this time tomorrow.
In other night jobs you might expect that work slows down. Or perhaps you can take a slightly longer break or have an extra cuppa. Nursing premature babies is not a job that allows for any of those things. These delicate little ones still need constant attention. Unfortunately babies don't differentiate between 2pm and 2am as most mums will know!
As 5am ticks round it's cold and there is a constant beep from a machine, all is quiet in the NICU. Babies all cuddled up in their incubators. Someone mentions the kettle - but before they have chance to finish the sentence the emergency page has gone. You see there is no such thing as a peaceful NICU....
Finally at 8am I climb back in the car. Now I am really cold and everything kind of hurts. But it's windows down and radio up. Time to get home, my parenting shift is just beginning! Even as I turn the key I can hear the protest about socks. 'I don't wanna wear Spider-Man socks..... Muuuuummm' No way am I dealing with that. Sockgate will have to wait until I have my shoes off and the kettle is on.
Luckily the big one is at school. So off he goes (wearing Batman socks if you were wondering). Leaving just the small one for me to handle. If I am lucky she will have a good snooze. But it's like she knows when I want her to sleep and that is when she decides naps are for other people....
After the school run it's time to tackle the nightly ritual of dinner. Believe me at this point the last thing you want to do is eat let alone cook. Thank goodness for school meals because tonight is a 'freezer special'. Yep it's nuggets, waffles and beans. No complaints from the kids! I sit at the table with my 7th coffee of the day. There is a slight buzzing in my head and my eyes occasionally slip out of focus. But the finish line is in sight.
I fight both kids into the bath, and then fight them to get back out again. Chase the small one around trying to stuff her into a baby grow while she screeches happily. Read the same story twice, 'do the voices mummy...'. At last it's up the stairs we go, and everyone is in bed. I collapse on the couch, turn on the TV while congratulating myself that I have yet to fall over.
By Zoe George
Source: Good To Know
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